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DODGERS FYI

Hiroki Kuroda pitches a bullpen session

His 50-pitch bullpen session is his first since being struck in the head by a line drive.

August 27, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

DENVER — Hiroki Kuroda threw a 50-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, his first since being struck in the head by a line drive 11 days earlier.

Kuroda was pleased with the way he felt -- "Considering how long it's been, it felt as normal as could be," he said -- but remained unsure of how long it would take him to be game-ready.

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said that Kuroda looked fine, noting that if he didn't know what had happened to him in Arizona, he would have thought he was in line to pitch three days later.

Manager Joe Torre said Kuroda could pitch a simulated game in Cincinnati later this week, adding that if he does, he will probably do so from behind a protective screen.

Kuroda acknowledged that he has some psychological barriers to overcome.

He said he has had headaches since arriving in Colorado but isn't sure if they're symptoms of his concussion or altitude sickness.

He said his head hurts when he looks into the headlights of cars driving in the opposite direction but isn't sure if the discomfort is imagined.

"Everyone around me is so concerned about me and that, in turn, makes me concerned about everything," he said.

Kuroda shook his head and laughed.

"I always thought I wouldn't mind dying on a baseball field," he said.

"But as I was being carried away, I thought, 'I don't want to die.' I thought that there would be nothing sadder than for me to die in my uniform, without my family there to see me off."

Kuroda laughed again, this time more loudly.

Told that he had a surprisingly good sense of humor when reflecting on the potentially life-changing event, he smiled and replied, "Don't you think so?"

Sherrill's MRI: negative

There was a reason Torre didn't summon left-handed setup man George Sherrill out of the bullpen in the 10th inning of the Dodgers' loss to face the Colorado Rockies' four left-handed hitters: Sherrill was unavailable.

Torre's call to insert James McDonald at that stage in the game surprised even the Rockies, who didn't know that Sherrill felt tightness in his right side earlier that day, prompting trainer Stan Conte to instruct Torre not to use him.

Sherrill had an MRI exam that came back negative and he retired both batters he faced in Wednesday's game.

Beimel back with a contender

Spending the first four months of the season with Washington, former Dodgers reliever Joe Beimel said he missed pitching in pressure situations.

Such as the one he pitched in Tuesday night, when he struck out Andre Ethier in the ninth inning with one out and the tying run on third.

Beimel said he was happy to learn that Washington had traded him to the Rockies on July 31.

Of his time in with the last-place Nationals, he said, "You don't really have anything to play for. It's that kind of atmosphere where you have to find a reason to come to the field."

And his reasons were?

"Pretty much selfish reasons," he said. "That's not the way it should be. I was pretty miserable."

Kershaw's streak ends

The home run that Clayton Kershaw gave up to Brad Hawpe on Tuesday ended a streak of 15 consecutive starts without giving up a homer. The streak was the longest in L.A. Dodgers history and the longest in baseball since Sid Fernandez of the New York Mets made 16 consecutive starts without serving up a homer in 1992.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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